Pirate Deck Rules - Hip Pocket Games

Pirate Deck Rules - Hip Pocket Games
A New Classic Pub Game
by James Ernest
and Paul Peterson
Pairs is a simple press-your-luck card game, using an unusual
“triangular” deck. The deck contains the numbers 1 through 10,
with 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, and so on. You can play many different games
with your Pairs deck, but let’s start off with the basic rules.
The Basics: Pairs has no winner, just one loser. In each round,
players will take turns drawing cards, until one person either
folds or gets a pair. Either of these scores points, and points
are bad. The first player with too many points loses:
Target Scores
Losing Score:31 211613 11
(The formula: Take 60, divide by players, then add 1.)
Penalties: If you like, you can choose a penalty for the loser.
The loser could tell a joke, buy a round of drinks, make a funny
noise, or whatever is appropriate for your group.
Who Should Deal? One player can deal for the whole game,
or the role of dealer can pass around the table. The dealer’s
position doesn’t matter, since the starting player is always
determined by the low card.
Playing the Game
Getting Started: Shuffle the deck and burn (discard) five
cards, facedown, into the middle of the table. This is the start
of the discard pile. Each time you reshuffle, you will burn five
cards again. (This makes it harder to count the cards.)
To start each round, deal one card faceup to each player. The
player with the lowest card will go first.
Ties for Low Card: If there is a tie for lowest card at the start
of the round, deal an extra card to the tied players, and use those
cards to break the tie. (You might have to repeat this.) If any player
catches a pair in this step, you discard the paired card and deal a
replacement. You can’t lose by catching a pair on the deal.
On Each Turn: On your turn, you have two choices: You may
hit (take a card), or fold. If you catch a pair, or fold, the round
is over and you score points. If not, play passes to the left.
Pairing Up: When you hit, you’re hoping not to get a pair (any
two cards of the same rank). If you pair up, you score that many
points. For example, if you catch a pair of 8’s, you score 8 points.
Keep one of those cards, faceup, to track your score.
Folding: You can surrender (fold) instead of taking a card.
When you do this, you take the lowest card in play and keep it
for points. You may choose this card from all players’ stacks,
not just your own.
Folding can be better than hitting, depending on the odds of
catching a pair, but it’s up to you to decide when to do it.
Ending the Round: As soon as one person pairs up or folds,
the round is over. Discard all the cards in play, facedown into
the middle, and start another round.
Players keep their scoring cards aside, faceup. These cards will
not return to the deck until the game is over.
Reshuffling: When the deck runs out, reshuffle the discards.
Pause the game, shuffle, and resume where you left off.
(Remember to burn five cards off every new deck.)
Using a Cut Card: This deck includes one blank card, or “cut
card.” Keep this card on the bottom of the deck, where it
prevents players from seeing the bottom card. When you reach
the end of the deck, you can use the cut card to mark where play
was interrupted. Place it back on the bottom after you shuffle.
Losing the Game: There is no winner, just one loser. The
game ends when one player reaches the target score (see the
Target Scores chart on the left). For example, in a 4-player
game, the loser is the first player to score 16 points.
Keep Playing! We hope you’ll enjoy playing Pairs. Please visit
playpairs.com for more games.
Variation: Continuous
Continuous Pairs is nearly the same as basic Pairs, except
that when a player pairs up or folds, only that player’s cards
are discarded. Everyone else keeps their cards, and that
player is still in, currently with an empty stack. This game
is basically one long round, instead of several short ones.
Here are a couple of rules clarifications for Continuous:
1: When you fold, you may take any card in play.
2: When you have no cards, you must always hit.
Continuous Pairs can be a great change of pace. Try it out!
About the Pirate Deck:
Game Variant: Starboard
The Pirate Pairs deck was illustrated by Brett Bean for the
2014 Pairs Kickstarter project. It’s a delightful assortment of
colorful characters from a made-up world.
Starboard is a gambling game, so each round is a separate game.
Players are betting on the same central hand of cards, trying to
guess how long it will last before it pairs up.
Note: As in basic Pairs, you can burn five cards and then play until
you run out of cards, in both Port and Starboard.
Players: 2 to 7
You Need: A Pairs deck, coins for gambling, about 100 per
player, and a button or coin to designate the first player.
Game Variant: Port
Port and Starboard are two simple games that you can play with
a Pairs deck after (or during) a long sea voyage. They have similar
core mechanics, but are quite different. Try them both!
Port is played in rounds, keeping score after each round. The
first player to score 21 points wins.
Players: 2 to 7
Equipment: A Pairs deck and a way to keep score.
To Begin: Shuffle the deck and burn five cards.
Each Round: Deal each player one card faceup. The low card
will go first, with ties broken with extra cards, as in Pairs.
Each Turn: On your turn, you may either take a hit, or lock
your stack. If you lock, you will receive no more cards in this
round. If you hit, you are trying to get more points without
getting a pair. A pair busts you, and you get no points at all.
The round continues until everyone has locked or busted.
Scoring: The player who has the most total card points in her
stack (adding all the cards together) scores N game points,
where N is the number of players. The next highest total
scores N-1 game points, and so on, down to 1 game point for
the lowest valued stack (if no one busted). Players who busted
get no points. If there is a tie for any score level, both players
receive the higher amount.
For example, in a 5-player game, the stacks are 23, 22, 22, 17, and
bust. These players earn 5, 4, 4, 2, and 0 game points.
After the round is over, discard all the cards and deal again, and
keep playing until a player scores 21 points or more. If there is
a tie (that is, players with the same score of 21 points or more),
those players play another round to break the tie.
Variation: Pieces of Eight
This is a simple variant for basic Pairs or Continuous Pairs.
8’s are special. If you have an 8, instead of taking a hit, you
can discard the 8 and take two cards. (Note: If the first card
makes a pair, you don’t deal the second.)
To Begin: Each player antes 1 coin into the pot. The player
with the button acts first. If this is the first game, give the
button to a random player; otherwise, it passes one seat to
the left after each game.
Deal two cards into the middle of the table. This is the start
of one hand that everyone will play. If the first two cards are a
pair, discard one of the cards and replace it.
Each Turn: In turn, players may either draw or lock.
Draw: To draw, pay 1 coin into the pot. Deal a card to the
hand, faceup. If this pairs the stack, you bust (lose), but the
game continues. Discard the paired card, and drop out.
Lock: Declare that you are locked. When a player locks, any
players who locked with fewer cards are knocked out. To win
the pot, you must lock with the highest number of cards.
Ending the Game: The game ends when every player busts
or locks. (If you are the only player left, you lock.) The pot is
split among all players who locked with the highest number of
cards. (Unlike in Port, the card points are irrelevant.)
Odd Coins: If the pot does not divide evenly, leave any odd
coins for the next pot.
Dealing Hints: To track which players are in what state, do the
following: At the beginning of the game, keep each player’s ante in
front of that player, to designate that player as “in.” When a player
busts, move their ante into the pot. When a player locks, deal them
a card facedown, placed under their ante. When a locked player is
knocked out (because someone drew without pairing), take away
their facedown card, and put their ante in the pot.
Pairs was designed by James Ernest and Paul Peterson, with help from
Joshua Howard and Joe Kisenwether. Pirate artwork by Brett Bean.
Playtesters include Adam Sheridan, Ahna Blake, Bob De Dea, Boyan Radakovich, Carol Monahan, Cathy Saxton, Daniel Solis, Debbie Mischo,
Don Flinspach, Hal Mangold, Jeremy Holcomb, John Mischo, Jonathan
Fingold, Kenneth Hite, Mike Selinker, Nathan Clarenburg, Nora Miller,
Owen Jungemann, Rick Fish, Shawn Carnes, Tom Saxton, and many others. Edited by Carol Monahan, Cathy Saxton, Christopher Dare, and Mike
Selinker. Made possible through Kickstarter!
Pairs and the Pairs logo are © and ™ 2014 James Ernest and Hip
Pocket Games, Seattle WA: www.hippocketgames.com.
For more rules, variants, alternate decks, and more, please visit us at:
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